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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcat hockey wins 3-1 despite poor possession numbers

Arizonas+Jack+Allen%2C+7%2C+skates+down+the+rink+and+trys+to+get+open+for+a+pass.
Amorah Tate
Arizona’s Jack Allen, 7, skates down the rink and trys to get open for a pass.

For their second-to-last home game before their final hurrahs against ASU in Feb, Arizona took home the ‘W’ against the Milwaukee School of Engineering by a score of 3-1. The three Wildcat goals were scored by Robert Smythe, Tyler Griffith, and Justin Plumhoff.

Despite the goals being in favor of Arizona, they were outplayed all three periods by an under-estimated MSOE. Emphasis was on puck possession for the coaching staff, and the numbers weren’t great.

For every period, Arizona possessed the puck for less than half the period. Percentage wise, they were in the 30 percent range for the first, and for the second and third they were in the 40 percent range. 

Assistant coach Eddie Lavilla agreed the team needed more minutes on the attack, and mentioned how the staff is making sure they emphasize that key to the players. 

“We’re making our regroups, we hammer that every practice. We’re doing neutral zone regroups constantly having the forwards come back, swimg ‘em in and get into lanes, and just really stressing to the guys the more time you have the puck on your stick the better time we’re going to have offensive and defensive,” Lavilla said.

Their PDO was also alarming. PDO, a stat of how lucky or unlucky a team is, was well into the “lucky” range for the first two periods at 104 and 102 respectively. Anything over 100 indicated the Wildcats were not putting in enough effort to be producing as much as they were.

Regardless, the coaching staff took it as it was – a win – and believed it was a decent effort by the ‘Cats. Head coach Chad Berman even said this was the first game he felt like the team was “back on track” since the start of the new semester.

It had been a bumpy few weeks after coming back with series against GCU, Utah, and a late-night game in Tempe against ASU. But as Berman said, Arizona is finding their groove again and moving in the right direction while in their own building, so they should be prepared for the marquee matchups that lie ahead: Oklahoma and Central Oklahoma.

“I think it’s a good thing to go on the road,” head coach Chad Berman said, “We do a different kind of meeting so it’s a good opportunity of us to kinda infiltrate the new guys. In that regard, it’s a great test for us. Oklahoma is a good hockey team and a tough place to go. UCO is as tough as it gets.”

Berman also mentioned in passing that there might be a few players coming off injury in the next week.

Two particularly big names the team has been missing these past handful of games are Anthony Cusanelli and Chris Westlund. Whether or not they will be back from what appear to be lower and upper body injuries, respectively, by the time the Oklahoma roadtrip comes around, is not a guarantee, but Wildcat fans have hope that they might be returning soon.

Cusanelli sits atop the team scoring with 49 (31,18) points, and Westlund is sixth on the team with 22 (10,12).

The series against MSOE was the second-to-last series at home, and their final home series – against ASU – comes in just under one month’s time. The regular season is rapidly coming to a close, so there’s heavy emphasis on every game and how that will impact their run in the National Tournament.

The ASU series kicks off at the TCC at 7:30 p.m. on Feb 16, and Senior Night will be on Feb 18 at 4 p.m.


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